To many people, there are few things more anxiety-inducing than a trip to the dentist. According to the Huffington Post, five percent of the population is afflicted with a debilitating fear of the dentist. If you suffer from anxiety about going to the dentist, it's important that you're able to recognize the source of your anxiety so you can find ways to reduce it. So what are some causes of dental anxiety? Unpleasant Prior Experiences So many people have had negative experiences with a dentist at some point in their lives. They're worried about these experiences being repeated, so they either avoid going to the dentist altogether or they suffer anxiety prior to their visit. Embarrassment Many people feel so embarrassed by the state of their teeth. They feel like their dentist will ridicule or chastise them for the shape their mouth is in. Your dentist is there to help you improve the state of your teeth, not to judge your for the shape they're in. It doesn't matter what shape your teeth are in; what matters is that you're taking the initiative to improve them. Fear of Pain A common misconception about going to the dentist is that it will inevitably be a painful experience. A visit to the dentist is meant to enhance your dental health in a safe, pain-free way. Nothing about going to the dentist should involve pain. While some discomfort is to be expected, any respectable dentist will do everything in his or her power to minimize any potential discomfort. How Can You Combat Dental Anxiety? First and foremost, you need to pinpoint what specifically is making you anxious about your bi-yearly dental visit. Is it the loud, unpleasant whirring of the tools and machines that puts you on edge? Is it the close proximity of other people to your face? Is it lingering anxiety from an unpleasant experience with another dentist? Once you've discovered the cause of your anxiety, it will easier for you to find a way to cope with it. For instance, if the loud noises bother you, then you might find that wearing ear plugs or headphones during your exam helps. If you have any concerns, the key is ask your dentist. They have worked with numerous patients with every kind of worry and reservation there is, so they are well-equipped with all the necessary resources to help you ease your anxiety.